Essex: Time to vote for new police and crime commissioner

VOTERS will go the polls today to elect the first police and crime commissioner for Essex.

Six candidates, including two independents, will be battling it out to win the people’s mandate for the new �85,000-a-year post. In Essex six candidates.

Polling stations will be open from 7am-10pm with votes being counted on Friday.

The election will be run on a supplementary vote system, where people choose their first and second preference candidates.

The candidates are:

• Former Royal Naval officer Nicholas Alston is the Conservative candidate and wants measures that will cut crime and improve communications between the police and the public

• Linda Belgrove is an independent candidate and is a parish councillor and founder and chair of the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund;

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• Labour candidate Val Morris-Cook is general manager for a logistics firm and deputy leader of Thurrock Council;

• The UKIP candidate is Andrew Smith, who works as a freelance chartered accountant in commerce;

• Another independent candidate, Mick Thwaites, is a former Essex police officer and wants to see “more visible policing”;

• Robin Tilbrook is the English Democrats’ candidate. He is their leader and chairman and works as a solicitor.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has accused the Government of running a “shambolic” information campaign in the run-up to the first elections for police and crime commissioners.

Ms Cooper said people were saying they did not know anything about today’s polls for commissioners in 41 police areas in England and Wales.

“The Government, as well as choosing to have the elections in November when they could have waited until May, have simply not provided people with proper information,” she told ITV’s Daybreak.

But Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said the commissioners would have a “really important” role and the Government had wanted to get the elections under way as quickly as possible.

“I think it is really important that people know a figurehead, a name of a person that they can turn to when they are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour in their area.

“They want to know why the police are costing money on their council tax bill,” he said.

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